Microsoft to eSports Players: We Want You

As Microsoft prepares its newest installment in the Halo series, Halo 5: Guardians, the New York Times reports that “Microsoft, the company that makes the game, cannot afford to coast on warm feelings alone for the Halo series… So the team making the game, as well as Microsoft’s marketing machine, is focusing on the booming world of competitive video games — in particular, making sure that it appeals to elite gamers.”

To entice eSports competitors, Microsoft announced “that its Halo competition would give away a total of $1 million in prize money, the most ever for the game.”

Said Rahul Sood, a former Microsoft executive who is now chief executive of Unikrn, a start-up that runs a site for betting on e-sports: “The bottom line is all game developers everywhere are looking for ways to turn their games into e-sports titles.”

As the NYT notes, “It was not that long ago… that Microsoft did not pay much attention to e-sports. In the mid-2000s, Halo became an organic hit with the fledgling scene of competitive gamers who played for prize money. It was an impeccably designed shooter, with one of the best multiplayer experiences in games, which became an essential ingredient in games.”

IGN reports that “Halo 5’s latest map, Colosseum, was revealed during Microsoft’s Gamescom 2015 press conference, and was demoed alongside the shooter’s new eSports feature set.” A demo can be seen here.

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